Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

How is whiplash diagnosed?

Answer:

Whiplash is an injury of the muscle and soft tissue in your neck that can't be seen by x-ray. Whiplash is usually a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning once other injuries have been ruled out, your doctor may feel that the only explanation for your pain and symptoms is whiplash.

In order to rule out other injuries, your doctor could order more specialized tests than x-rays, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography scan (CT). These are more specific than x-rays and allow your doctor to look at the body tissue more closely. Anita N. Vasavada, PhD, et al. Musculotendon and Fascicle Strains in Anterior and Posterior Neck Muscles During Whiplash Injury. In Spine. April 2007. Vol. 32. No. 7. Pp. 756-765.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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